"Jago Pakistan" Report Launched
On December 16, 2014, a shocking and brutal terrorist attack on a Peshawar school cost over 140 lives, mostly school children. The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP ) took immediate responsibility and promised more such attacks. It was the most chilling and highest-casualty terror attack in Pakistan’s recent history. Ensconced within Pakistan’s initial response to the Peshawar attack is the story of Pakistan itself. Pakistan is now in an unambiguous state of war with violent extremist groups that use terror. In the outcome of this war, the future of the country, as well as its surrounding region, hang in the balance.
As the United States draws down its troop levels in Afghanistan and potentially shifts in 2015 to a train and assist mission, and the world’s attention turns to newer challenges—Pakistan is disappearing from the list of priorities for the international community, despite horrific, headline-grabbing violence. The combination of regional realignments and Pakistan’s important internal challenges require new approaches to the region. The year 2015 offers opportunities to implement a strong course correction— opportunities that may not be available in the future.
The Century Foundation International Working group on Pakistan argues that Pakistan’s people, particularly its elites and leaders, need to seize the multiple opportunities to meet challenges in three vital areas: security, economy and governance. Importantly, unlike previous efforts to rethink the issues facing Pakistan, this report is not the exclusive product of Western views of the country or region. The group’s membership includes prominent Pakistanis fully cognizant of the negative trends in their own society.
In a world where multiple threats compete for the attention of policymakers, this report seeks to warn against neglecting a critical region that has been an ongoing source of frustration for past policymakers. Despite those difficulties, there exist possibilities for progress. Pakistan has long been seen as a resilient country, surviving a series of crises over the decades in a way that often goes underappreciated. Facing the serious challenges outlined in this report should represent the Pakistani people’s first steps in a new direction.